Poll

Vote for your favorite

The Voodoo Curse
1 (11.1%)
Be Careful When You Wish
1 (11.1%)
Thrafnidiaeth
0 (0%)
The Wretched Writer
1 (11.1%)
The Pen Name
0 (0%)
A Desecration
0 (0%)
Wretched Writer
0 (0%)
Nemesis
3 (33.3%)
While Horse and Hero Fell
2 (22.2%)
The Wretched Writer
0 (0%)
Demise of the Wretched Writer
1 (11.1%)

Total Members Voted: 6

Voting closed: August 30, 2010, 09:15:00 AM

Author Topic: FLASH FICTION COMPETITION #20 VOTING  (Read 1306 times)

Offline Victoooria

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FLASH FICTION COMPETITION #20 VOTING
« on: August 20, 2010, 09:15:00 AM »
1. The Voodoo Curse

For years Josup Entwhistle dragged himself home at midnight after the swing shift at the New York Times and fell into bed.   Josup was so pathetic he made even his spaniel, Joe Cocker, shake his head.

One day, Josup met a Great Dane and the world brightened considerably.  She was jet black with the long legs of a ballerina and the smoothest, shiniest fur he’d ever seen.  She asked with a woof if he’d written anything besides news?  He had a revelation and marched down to the newsroom.

“I quit!” said Josup.

“Okay,” said the editor.

“I’m going to write a novel!” said Josup.

“Good luck at that,” said the editor.   

Back home, Joe discovered the Great Dane’s smell in the apartment.  He knew by time of day that his owner was not at work.  He was at the Times quitting his job so he could spend time with the Great Dane.  This annoyed Joe no end – female dogs were his territory.   

“I’m going to write a novel!” announced Josup as he came in the door.  Joe Cocker already knew this, and had left the phone book open to an ad for editorial services.  Josup called right away, then sat down and worked for two years solid on the manuscript.

The editors called him in for a meeting.  They were sticking needles in a doll with their paws. 

“So, you wanted to write a book?” they barked.  “This is dog poop!  Write it again!”  And they cackled.

2. Be Careful When You Wish

I’ve always wanted a home near the ocean and now, here I am, gazing out a window that overlooks waves washing ashore with gulls swirling against a blue sky, looking for a likely bite to appear below.

The problem is, I don’t remember buying, renting or even moving into this place. Yet here I am, sitting in front of my computer as if I were about to get on with my writing. All my furniture in this room, along with some of my favorite things are tucked here and there in the same places I have also keep them.
 
Walking through the house I see my cream colored sofa placed opposite the picture window, allowing the best view over the bluff and out into the ocean. The matching chairs of cream and subdued gold brocade are placed on either side of my golden maple coffee table. The same positions I would have chosen, but the room itself is new to me.

I wonder through the rooms, two bedrooms, each with its own bath, a living room leading to an “L” that contains the dinning room and kitchen. Each room holds my things, positioned exactly as I would have placed them.

Except, I didn’t.

Going back to the computer I pull up the last document I ‘seem’ to have written. I don’t remember creating this either.

It began: “I wish I had a little place near the shore, just remote enough that neighbors and friends wouldn’t feel so free to drop in without calling first.”

3. Thrafnidiaeth

Scarborough. Ioneth felt that there was a deep magic buried here; the first
house in the land had been erected here, on the site of an ancient stone
circle. He'd been sent here to write up the story of the First House:
perhaps it was a slow news day.

Ioneth came to the site of the First House in time for sunset. He examined
the Cumbric runes carved into the half-buried Circle. A few of the runes
were worn away, but a message could be made out:

"SFYLL AC YN AROS THRAFN DAETH"

He scribbled the words into a notebook, as the Sun started to fall below the
horizon, and the Circle glowed faintly with a reflection of the sunlight.
Ioneth stepped into the Circle, to take a closer look at the runes, and the
light grew as he stepped in.

The Cumbric sentence looked almost Welsh, so Ioneth filled in the missing
vowels as best he could, and scratched another line down:

Sefyll ac yn aros thrafnidiaeth                 Stand and await transport

Suddenly, the Circle burst free of the ground, surrounding him as it climbed to
around head height. Another three circles of stone emerged, spacing themselves
to envelop him in stone. A loud buzz, and...

Ioneth was somewhere else. Standing at the side of a narrow road, with a sign
to his left. In white text, it read: "York Cathedral ahead"; he had moved over
40 miles, to York, in the blink of an eye.

Transport indeed: Cumbric words evidently had some power, even after eight
thousand years. This wasn't a slow news day any more.

4.  The Wretched Writer
   
The walls oozed dampness onto the concrete floor. The room was a windowless cube. Far overhead, the single bare light bulb burned from a grilled fixture. A metal desk and chair were bolted to the floor in the center of the room. A notebook PC sat on the desk. Along a wall was a concrete slab with a thin mattress. A bucket was in another corner.

The Writer sat in the chair, haggard, with tangled hair. Infrequently, she pressed keys on the keyboard. A low moan came from her that she seemed unaware of.

Words slowly formed on the screen. When they reached a certain number, they disappeared; the cursor moved back to the start of the page, and a counter in the bottom of the screen incremented by one, indicating another 100 words.

She could not remember how long she had been here. She wrote all day, and they bought her sustenance food and water. Once, she had rebelled, stopped writing, and the water stopped coming. It only took half a day to bring her back to the keyboard.

No one had spoken to her, she saw no guards, and there were no sounds from outside the room. The light never went out. Someone emptied the bucket while she slept.

What did she write? She no longer cared, and apparently, her captors didn’t either. Just endless words.

On her next sleeping period, she was going to use her teeth to open a vein and fly away.

5.  The Pen Name

Stanley Stanton wanted to be a writer. No matter that he lacked the requisite education, fortitude and talent. An author’s life had been limned upon his imagination and nothing would dissuade him.

First, he decided, he would need a name. No publisher would take him seriously using his own. He liked his grandfather’s name, John Henry Stanton, but if he used that, his grandfather would get credit for Stanley’s hard work.

Too bad he wasn’t a woman, he thought. He could change his first name to Judith and sell a million copies of anything he wrote. Publishers loved that.

Perhaps something exotic. Don Diego de la Vega had a nice ring. Would people recognize Zorro’s real name? Perhaps if he used the father’s name, got rid of de la and added another name—Don Alejandro Vega Escobar would be his new name.

But, in the interest of brevity, someone might change his new name to D.A.V.E? Letterman would get pissy and not invite him on the show and his career would be in ruins before it began.

There weren’t enough cool writers’ names. Brett Easton Ellis had gotten the last. Too bad writers’ names weren’t like bowling shoes: you turned them in when you were done. Hemmingway? Faulkner? Their families would certainly sue if he tried to recycle those names.

Then Stanley had a stroke of genius. There was one writer with a cool name who wasn’t writing any more. The man was a recluse—never spoke to the press. Did he have a family? Was he even around anymore? Perfect. Stanley’s new pen name would be Jerome David Salinger.

6. A Desecration

“Wake up.  Wake up.  I hear voices downstairs.”  The woman whispered urgently, shaking her husband.

“Myrna, there’s no one downstairs.  I locked up.”

“I tell you I hear something, John.”

“Okay, okay, I'll go check.  Just calm down.”

John sat up groggily, toeing over the carpet in search of his slippers.  Standing, he slipped noiselessly from the room, along the hall to the stairs.  Feeling his way, John stepped down quietly from one step to the next.  At the landing, he turned to the left and made his way forward to the wing-backed chair facing the living room.

John heard a click and the lights came on.  Turning at the sudden brightness, he saw a flash and felt a searing, burning heat.  Clutching his chest, John toppled to the floor.

“Hello? 9-1-1?  My husband has been shot.  Oh My God, please hurry!  I think he’s dead.  What?  Yes, yes…I’m fine.  Just hurry, please!”

Myrna sat slowly down, shaking and staring ahead intently while she waited.   

“Ma’am?  Are you sure you’re okay?”  asked one of the officers as John was carried away.  “Can you tell me what happened?”

“I...I...I’m okay.”

“Ma’am, can you tell me what happened?”

Slowly raising her shaking hand, Myrna pointed.

“The ashtray, ma’am?”

“See the lipstick on the cigarette butts?”

“Yes, ma’am, I see them.  I don’t understand.  Was someone else here?”

“I found them tonight when I came home from my book tour.  You see, Officer, I don’t smoke.”

7.  Wretched Writer

When trying to think of something to write about I often seek ideas from things that have happened to me in my past. As a child, I learned from a near-death-experience, that there is something beyond the grave.  At different stages of my life I have documented many of my strange experiences, which go beyond the ordinary to the point of being downright scary, in various poems.  Sometimes, I get the feeling that though it is I who is actually writing the poems; it is a greater power dictating the contents of whatever it is I am writing. On more than a few occasions, I have set for hours waiting for the words to write a poem but the words never come; other times, the words flow like magic, non-stop, and the end result being: reading it is like I am taking in the words for the first time. Did my ability to write stem from being at the bottom of that clay hole, walking with a figure that had no form? Was I predestined to affect world change through my writings?  These questions have been forefront in my mind for many years. Did the unseen presence, walking with me through the valley of the shadow of death, send me back to the world too touch hearts and change lives with my poetry? As I write this, I think back to the day when, as a little girl standing just beyond the beautiful light, begging to be allowed to enter the light, I asked, “Why do I have to go back?” and the presence, walking with me, answering me, saying, “When the time comes, you will know.”

8.  Nemesis

I was sat in my writing chair, nothing unusual about that, except for the cord binding my arms the armrests. You can’t type if you can’t reach the keyboard.

The perpetual sneer I’d described for months looked down on me. “I’ll bet you wish you’d given Troy enough guts to kill me now, eh?”

“This isn’t real,” I said. “I miss writing the book. It’s reasonable that I’d have nightmares about you.”

“I guess I’m going to have to get unreasonable with you then,” he replied.

He went into the kitchen; paid for by Troy’s last adventure, I wasn’t going to kill off his nemesis. He returned with a knife.

“See this.”

I saw it, and I felt it. The point dug into my right cheek. I tried to moan but it made the blade grind against my lower jaw.

He pulled it out, “Still dreaming?”

“No,” it wasn’t human speech, more like the sound from a video of a talking dog.

“Don’t worry, when you take my place it’ll be fine.”

I couldn’t force out another word. He didn’t need talk, the knifing was just a laugh before his dénouement.

He pulled a bag from his coat, “You were too kind when you put an apprenticeship under Aliester Crowley in my character file.”

The bag contained dust, he poured it in a circle around my chair. “This is going to be special.”

He was chanting, the sound began to fade, existence itself began to disintegrate. I awoke without a pain in my face. It was all just a dream.

Then I opened my eyes. I was in a cell that I knew. It was his cell, it’s my cell now.

9.  While Horse and Hero Fell

Maggie glanced at the clock. Nine-thirty. She'd write for another ten minutes then stop for supper. She'd been at her desk for six hours, and now her typing was suffering. She started a new sentence …

Teh girl

… spotted the typo and hammered the backspace key.
 
Maggie wrote romantic novels that appealed to women of a certain age. Her stories were filled with slim, young, girls with pert breasts; girls named Faith who became entangled with handsome heroes, and fought off unwanted advances from moustachioed men with despicable intentions. She was very successful. She made a damn good living. She hated every stinking word she wrote.

Unlike her characters Maggie was not young and slim, she was middle-aged and plump. Her breasts were not pert, they were annoyingly droopy. She had a face like a pig and if she didn’t wax her chin, she could grow a beard in less than two weeks. Romance. Hah! In forty-five years she'd had sex just once. A disaster. The man — a wannabe poet — thought it would arouse her if he recited 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' as they did it.

She stared at her story on the screen. What utter twaddle! Her main character was a teenage girl who'd inherited her father's millions. A total nitwit. She didn't deserve a handsome hero, she deserved Chlamydia.

Maggie stabbed at the keyboard. Control+Home. Control+Shift+End. DELETE. She started typing, fingers flying across the keyboard …

Title: The Revenge of the Bearded Pig-faced Woman

Chapter One: The Poet and the Secateurs

10.  The Wretched Writer

Jean stared at the computer screen. The envelope in the in-box flickered and identified the sender as the publisher. Saliva disappeared from her mouth and her heart palpitated in her chest. A thin film of sweat broke out on her forehead.

Her finger hovered over the enter key. What if they rejected the novel? What if they said her writing was poor? She jumped from the chair and hugged her shaking hands under her arms. Blood pounded in her ears and her breathing grew shallow. If they rejected her again ... Two strong arms circled her from behind and she tilted her head back.

"Honey, you know you have to write. What does it matter what the publisher says? You'll keep writing anyway. Besides, if it's bad news, you just try another one."

"I know, but I need to have someone else believing in my stories. I need to know I'm good enough."

Matthew released her and pressed her down in the chair.

"Open the mail," he ordered.

 Jean closed her eyes and pressed the enter key. The silence behind her told her the message and her heart dropped in her chest. She opened her eyes and read the bad news for herself.

"Dear Ms Evans. We take great pleasure to inform you that your novel has been accepted for publication..."

Light broke through the clouds and her heart leaped back into place. A nervous laugh broke from her lips and she jumped from the chair, straight into the arms of Matthew who always believed she could do it. For once, she was glad he was right.

11.  Demise of the Wretched Writer

The wretched writer wrote and the wretched reader read, that’s the way it seemed to go in this wretched world. That is until the newbie without a name came. Words flew from his finger tips, pirouetting across the page like ballet dancers across a stage. Forming meanings and creating expressions never dreamt about or put into sequence before. A fresh spring breeze clearing away the old cobwebs from around the door frames, the wretched words were blown away into a dark oblivion.

The wretched writer saw it coming, yet paralysed in the same way a rabbit is hypnotised by the lights of a car he could do nothing to stop it. The tidal wave of change swept over him and engulfed him and like Jonah he disappeared into the belly of a whale. Yet even here the sounds of the word revolution could be heard, seeping slowly into his soul.

If words could smile the sound of their laughter would have been heard throughout the known, and unknown, universes. Bright new images formed upon the once empty pages, ideas flowing with ease and grace. Characters with souls brought to life by the stroke of a pen and the hungry eyes of the predatory readers.

No more wretched writers now, only happy ones.
THE REVIEWS ARE IN! "A Grand Slam!"-Bright Lights Big City Talent, "I see a TV series"-The Gary James Show, "I couldn't put it down. I laughed all night."-"People were staring at me, I was laughing so hard"